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Commentary on the Song of Songs, Chapter Six Verse 5a

by James Durham

Verse 5. Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me:——

The first part of the fifth verse contains the amplification and heightening of the Bride's lovely terribleness, and the great instance, and proof thereof, is held forth in a most wonderful expression, 'Turn away thine eyes from me,' and as wonderful a reason, 'for they have overcome me,' saith the Beloved: wherein consider, 1. That, wherein this might and irresistible terribleness of hers consisted; it is her 'eyes,' which are supposed to be looking on him, even when she knew not, to her sense, where he was. By eyes, we shew, chap. 4:9, were understood her love to him, and faith in him, whereby she was still cleaving to him under desertion, and in the present dark condition she was in, seeking to find him out. 2. This phrase, 'Turn away thine eyes,' is not so to be taken, as if Christ approved not her looking to him, or her faith in him; but, to shew the exceeding great delight he had in her, placing her faith and love on him; which was such, that her loving and believing looks ravished him (as it is chap. 4:9,) and (as it were) his heart could not stand out against these looks, more than one man could stand out against a whole army, as the following expression clears: it is like these expressions, Gen. 32:28, 'pray thee let me go,' and Exod. 32:10, 'Let me alone, Moses;' which shews, that it is the believers strength of faith, and importunity of love, exercised in humble dependence on him, and cleaving to him, which is here commended; 'for' (saith he) 'they have overcome me,' this shews, that it is no violent, or unwilling victory over him. But (in respect of the effect that followed her looks) it holds forth the intenseness of his love, and the certainty of faith's prevailing, that (to speak so with reverence and admiration) he is captivated, ravished and held with it, as one that is overcome, because he will be so: yea, according to the principles of his love, and the faithfulness of his promises, whereby he walks, he cannot but yield unto the believing importunity of his people, as one overcome. In sum, it is borrowed from the most passionate love that useth to be in men, when they are so taken with some lovely object, that a look thereof pierceth them: this, though in every thing (especially as implying defects) it cannot be applied to Christ, yet in a holy spiritual manner, the effects, for the believer's comfort, are as really and certainly, but much more wonderfully in Christ. These expressions are much of the same nature with those spoken of, upon chap. 3:4, and chap. 4:9, and therefore the doctrines there, will follow here. But further from the scope and repetition. Observe. 1. That believers' eyes may look, that is, their love and faith may he exercised on Christ, even in their dark and deserted conditions; and it is their property to look always to him, even when their eyes are, as it were, blind through desertion, he is still the object they are set upon. 2. That when these graces of faith and love are exercised on Christ, they are never fruitless, but always prevail and obtain, though it be not always sensible to the believer. 3. The love and faith of believers have weight with Christ and affect him, even when he keeps up himself; he may be overcome even then; for, the expression in the text looks to what was past. 4. Faith working by love, is a most gallant, and holy daring thing, bold in its enterprises to pursue after, to grip, and stick to Christ over all difficulties (as may be seen in her former carriage) and most successful as to the event. 5. The more staidly and stoutly, with love, humility and diligence, that faith is set on Christ, it is the more acceptable to him, and hath the greater commendation, as the eleventh of the Hebrews, and his commendation of that woman's faith, Matt. 15:25, do confirm: tenaciousness, and importunity in holding of, hanging on, and cleaving to Christ by faith, may well be marvelled at, and commended by Christ, but will never be reproved nor rejected. They greatly mistake Christ, who think that wrestling by faith, will displease him; for even though he seem to keep up himself, it is but to occasion, and to provoke to more of the exercise of the graces, in which he takes so much delight.



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